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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 18:43 GMT 19:43 UK
Defiant Burma 'will not change'
Troops on the streets of Rangoon on 27 September 2007
The junta says the UN should not comment on its domestic affairs
Burma has defied international pressure following its suppression of pro-democracy protests, insisting there "is no reason to change course".

A state-controlled Burmese newspaper criticised the UN Security Council for its statement last week deploring the treatment of protesters.

Earlier, Japan, a major donor to Burma, said it had cut more than $4m in funds.

On Monday, the EU increased sanctions on Burma and the US said it was considering strengthening its own.

Burma's official newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, said the government was already on a path to democracy, and there was no need to be diverted.

"The government has already proclaimed that it will implement steadfastly the seven-step road map in accordance with the people's desires," said a commentary in the newspaper.

"We will remove all the hindrances and obstacles that may lie ahead."

The article also questioned whether the UN Security Council had any right to comment on the recent unrest, saying that "the situation in Myanmar does not constitute a threat to the regional and international peace and security".

It also denied that the country's military junta was holding any prisoners for political reasons.

Diplomacy

Efforts to broker a resolution to the crisis are continuing.

The Chinese foreign minister said Beijing would play a constructive role.

But Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said there would be no threat of sanctions or suspension from the Association of South East Nations (Asean).

"Asean would never take that route. Nobody can talk when you are threatening all sorts of things," he said.

Rather, he said, Asean would help engage Burma in dialogue.

Tokyo feels it is in a unique position when it comes to dealing with Burma

Earlier on Tuesday, Japan announced it was halting $4.7m (2.3m) in funding for a human resources centre in Burma.

The move follows the death of a Japanese journalist during the military crackdown last month.

But Japan stopped short of ending all aid and remains one of the military junta's significant trading partners - leaving it unclear exactly what effect the cancellation might have.

Growing pressure

In Washington, a White House spokesman said the US was considering toughening its measures against the junta, possibly by extending travel bans and financial sanctions.

Earlier on Monday, the European Union agreed new punitive measures.

On top of a travel ban and a freeze on assets, Burma's generals now face fresh embargoes on some of their more lucrative exports - including jade, rubies and teak.

However, correspondents say, European sanctions have had practically no impact on Burma, as more than 90% of the country's trade is with its Asian neighbours.

Meanwhile the UN envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, has described as "extremely disturbing" new arrests in Burma and has called on the junta to stop detaining democracy activists.

Burma says 10 people died during its crackdown on the protests, but diplomats believe the true figures are much higher. Hundreds of people are thought to be in detention.

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